Far too long ago I was given a copy of the book “More food from small spaces” by Margaret Clark to review. Her book has been staring at me for well over a month even though I have been reading it off and on I kept delaying the review. Finally I was able to sit down and put my thoughts to word document on this very interesting and valuable resource for anyone trying to start a garden or preppers who are looking for additional resources and ideas for their existing plots.
The premise of Margaret’s book is a concept she came up with for growing food if you are limited in the space you have to use. Most of us feel that if we don’t have 20 acres of plowed fields we won’t be able to feed our family and that isn’t necessarily true. Having less room like most suburbanites and definitely city dwellers shouldn’t mean that you can’t grow a large variety of healthy food in abundance. Margaret was faced with a similar problem of limited space after a remodel of her home and used the methods she describes in her book to full advantage. The end result was “More food from small spaces”.
Before I get into the actual review, I want to briefly describe why this concept is appealing and pertinent to a wide variety of people. If you are prepping, chances are you want to be prepared for any one of a number of events that can disrupt your lives. Outside of the fear of bodily injury, food is probably the next biggest concern. Having your own supply of food you can grow and eat pays you back in several ways. First, it makes you less reliant on grocery stores and the fluctuations of any market prices or availability. Disruptions in the food supply would be less severe if you were growing your own. Secondly, growing your own food is healthier and if you don’t believe me just wait until you have eaten the first tomato you grew in your own yard. The flavors and nutrition of vegetables you grow yourself will blow away anything shipped from other countries in containers.
Margaret has created an excellent resource guide that gives anyone looking for tips and ideas on how to grow more food smarter. Less is more in her book and she does a great job of explaining with plenty of examples and photographs of how its done.
Without giving away all of the details, Margaret’s concept is called the Center Square Plan. Using this plan you increase the available square footage you can grow in. This gives you more productive land per square foot and makes maintaining your garden easier at the same time. One of my biggest gripes about gardening are the weeds. In her concept, weeds don’t have any room to grow. By placing your growing areas closely together and growing up instead of out you can increase yield and reduce the amount of maintenance you have to spend pulling weeds.
By using simple plans for a PVC greenhouse anyone can build she increases the length of time she can grow vegetables too. All of her plans are clearly documented in her book. There are very descriptive photos and you can see some of the benefits of her system in this movie below.
You can watch several other movies on her YouTube channel as well.
In addition to laying out the garden area, building the greenhouse and managing all of the finer points of growing in small spaces, Margaret offers a lot of additional information that you need in addition to growing food. She covers how to make your soil more fertile and gives an excellent recipe and instructions for making your own EM Bokashi to break down your compost much faster by using Microorganisms. She covers seed saving and gets into other normal garden issues like discouraging common pests, harvesting rainwater. She also covers what you need to know when your garden starts bursting forth with all of your delicious bounty. How to can, freeze and dehydrate food is covered in a very easy to follow way again with simple instructions and documented with a lot of photos.
I was really surprised at the level of detail in this book and it fits perfectly with the type of information I am looking for. It is not an encyclopedia of knowledge but this is an excellent guide that not only gives you a detailed overview of her method but has tons of useful information for storing and living off of your garden. That should be something that anyone can use.
You can purchase More food from small spaces on Amazon an if you are looking for ways to make your garden more productive or just starting from scratch, this book will give you a great plan for getting there and would make a good resource that you can learn from over and over.